This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.
In the last few years, we have made remarkable progress in understanding the properties of our observable Universe which appears to have evolved from a hot Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. The fine-tuning of initial conditions required to reproduce our present day Universe suggests that our Universe may merely be a region within an eternally inflating super-region. Many other regions could exist beyond our observable Universe with each such region governed by a different set of physical parameters than the ones we have measured for our Universe.
Planck's full-mission data, released in 2015, provides a high-resolution whole-sky polarization and temperature maps of the CMB and astrophysical components. I will talk about implications of Planck 2015 results for inflation, why cosmic dust is important, and what we are currently doing to study it. I will also highlight some tests of the statistical isotropy and Gaussianity of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) anisotropies we have done with observations made by the Planck satellite.
I will discuss the cosmology of galileon models with a Minkowski limit and discuss whether they can account for the currently observed cosmological model. The full galileon model predicts the speed of gravitational waves to be different from that of photons. I will discuss this and compare with observations. I will then discuss a subdominant galileon model which is compatible. Finally I will discuss the shape dependence of screening in galileon models, showing that the fifth force is unscreened for planar objects.
I will discuss phenomena associated with particle production and field excitation during inflation. In the first part of the talk I will present several
signatures that can originate from the coupling of an axion inflaton to gauge fields. In the second part I will test the robustness of the standard
implications associated with the detection of a gravity wave (GW) signal at CMB scales, by discussing what conditions can allow a visible
Alternative theories of gravity are popular alternatives to the LCDM model because they can self-accelerate without a cosmological constant. On smaller scales, consistency with solar system tests of gravity is achieved by utilising screening mechanisms, which act to hide fifth-forces locally. This makes them difficult to distinguish from general relativity. In this talk I will describe recent work using astrophysical objects---stars, galaxies, and clusters---as new and novel probes of alternative gravity theories.
The kinetic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect is a direct probe of the distribution and velocity of electrons on cosmological scales. Recent progress in Cosmic Microwave Background observations allow statistical detections of this subtle effect originating from a number of different tracers populations. In my talk, I will review the observational status, highlight the consequences for astrophysics and cosmology and discuss future directions.
The global redshifted 21-cm radiation background is expected to be a powerful probe of the re-heating and re-ionization of the intergalactic medium. However, its measurement is technically challenging: one must extract the small, frequency-dependent signal from under much brighter and spectrally smooth foregrounds. Traditional approaches to study the global signal have used single-antenna systems, where one must calibrate out frequency-dependent structure in the overall system gain, as well as remove the noise bias from auto-correlating a single amplifier output.
The Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) has been pushing our measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background on small scales to high resolution and deeper sensitivity since 2008. While ACT stopped taking temperature-only measurements in 2010, ACTPol is now operating with polarisation-sensitive detectors. I will present some of the current ACTPol results in terms of the power spectrum constraints.